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LITERARY   LIFE
statements but by evoking a mood which puts the reader in that train of thought. Such thoughts are as indefinable as the scene which evokes them is clear and vivid. Picturesque scenery is then used to suggest certain thoughts very much in the same way as certain chords in the Wagnerian operas are used to suggest the entrance of certain characters. Logically, there is little connection between the scenery and the man's inner thoughts, but symbolically and emotionally, there is a connection. The method, called ksing, or evocation, is as ancient as the Book of Poetry. In Tsang poetry, for instance, the passing of a fallen dynasty is variously expressed by such symbolic method, without mentioning the thoughts themselves. Thus Wei Ghuang sang of the past glories of Nanking in the following manner in his poem On a Painting of Chinling;
The rain on the river is mist-like, and the grass on the
banks is high. The Six Dynasties passed like a dream, and forlorn's the
birds' cry,
Most heartless of all are the willows of the palace walls, Even now in a three-mile green, lurid resplendour they lie.
The scene of the three-mile-long willow-overgrown walls was enough to remind his contemporaries of the past glories of Gh'en Houchu in his most glorious days, and the mention of the "heartless willows" strikes a contrast between human vicissitudes and nature's serenity. By the same technique, Po Ghiiyi (772-846) expressed his sadness over the past glories of T'ang Minghuang and Yang Kweifei by merely drawing a picture of white-haired, old imperial chambermaids gossiping in a deserted palace, without of course going into the details of their discourse:
Here empty is the country palace, empty like a dream, In loneliness and quiet the red imperial flowers gleam. Some white-haired, palace chambermaids are chatting, Chatting about the dead and gone Hstianchuang regime.
In the same way Liu Yilhsi sang about the decay of the Black-